Graham Cummins: Hard work and honesty of Cobh Ramblers paying off

After three unbeaten games, they'll face John Caulfield's Galway United with confidence
Graham Cummins: Hard work and honesty of Cobh Ramblers paying off

Cobh Ramblers' Ciaran Griffin wins the ball from Bray Wanderers' Andrew Quinn. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

ALTHOUGH Bray Wanderers showed more quality on the ball during the game it would have been harsh on Cobh Ramblers had they not got something from the match.

Ramblers came from behind in their 1-1 draw with Bray at St Colman’s Park on Saturday evening and extended their unbeaten run the three games.

Bray have some excellent players in their squad, the likes of Conor Clifford and Brandon Kavanagh, who are very good on the ball and can control a game, but Ramblers didn’t allow Gary Cronin’s side anytime on the ball at the beginning of the game. 

I’ve often spoken to lads in the league who say they hate travelling and playing at St Colman’s Park. Dublin players seem to think it’s an awfully long journey.

I would imagine some of those Bray players would have been on the bus, steering out the window at the sunshine and thinking, ‘let’s just get this game over with’. Sometimes, playing the day after the rest of the teams in the league have played, can irate a player as well. I used to get annoyed playing a day later because it’s not your usual match day and some players – like myself – are fussy, they want to have the same schedule each week.

Different matchdays mean a different schedule during the week and little things can throw players off. The Ramblers players will be used to Saturday evening games, but the Bray players wouldn’t have been, and along with the trip down, can make players feel sorry for themselves.

The tempo Ramblers began the game was like none other I'd witnessed this year. They pressed and harassed the Bray players and didn’t give them a moment on the ball.

Stuart Aston’s side asked the question, ‘are you up for the battle’? and for the first quarter of an hour, Bray weren’t. Ramblers were excellent but unsurprisingly they couldn’t continue with that pace.

Aston will be very disappointed with the soft goal his side conceded. Ramblers struggled with route one balls against UCD in their previous home fixture and it was their Achilles heel again against Bray.

It shouldn’t happen in professional football, that in two touches, one from a long kick from a goalkeeper, and the second from his teammate, that a team end up conceding. It’s just a lack of concentration from the defenders but the good thing for Aston is it’s a problem that can be easily fixed.

Players can switch off at any moment in a game and it's just down to communication between the players to make sure they don’t lose concentration.

Credit to Ramblers because they didn’t let their heads drop and got back into the game. Again, it was through sloppy defending because there was no need for Richie O’Farrell to challenge John Kavanagh in the penalty area which gave away the penalty, that Ramblers levelled from.

Cobh Ramblers' Charlie Lyons sends Bray Wanderers goalkeeper Brian Maher the wrong way, for the equalising penalty at St Colman's Park. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Cobh Ramblers' Charlie Lyons sends Bray Wanderers goalkeeper Brian Maher the wrong way, for the equalising penalty at St Colman's Park. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Ramblers are an honest side that work very hard for one another and none more so than their two strikers on the night Killian Cooper and Ciaran Griffin. Both scored in their previous game against Wexford Youths and would have been high on confidence, but they struggled against former Cork City player Aaron Barry and Andrew Quinn.

The Bray pair won most headers and pushed Cooper and Griffin off the ball very easily. The Cobh strikers looked jaded and the work they do without the ball, meant it affected the energy they had left for when the ball was played into them and they needed to hold it up.

You would think playing as a front two means less work than playing as a sole striker, but it’s worse. As a two, one of the players always needs to drop back on an opposition midfield to make sure the team isn’t outnumbered in midfield because most teams play with three players in midfield.

I love seeing teams with two up front, but I worry that Cooper and Griffin are too similar to form an effective relationship. 

Neither is a target man that wants to win flick-ons for the other and neither are a player that will drop in and collect the ball on the half-turn and play a past down the sides of defenders for the others. They both are at their best making runs behind defenders and make the same runs with crosses into the box.

Ramblers will be happy with the point and it will give them confidence ahead of next week’s fixture against John Caulfield’s Galway United.

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